Will MetroPCS’s VoLTE be killed by the T-Mo tie-up?

Light Reading has astutely noted that a new SEC filing from T-Mobile USA may indicate MetroPCS’s voice-over-LTE will become a casualty of the merger between the two carriers announced last week. The document, which is a PowerPoint slide deck, indicates that MetroPCS’s VoLTE users will be migrated to regular LTE handsets as the two companies are merged.

As my colleague Kevin Fitchard points out, killing the VoLTE service might not be all that surprising. MetroPCS’s capacity constraints were a driving force in moving users to VoLTE, but the merged carrier wouldn’t have such concerns and could operate its legacy voice infrastructure for years to come.

But while there may be technical reasons for keeping the older voice service alive, there are competitive reasons to continue VoLTE. HD voice is soon to be a crucial new battle ground between carriers, as I recently wrote, and quality voice service may emerge as a key differentiator. T-Mobile and MetroPCS must tread carefully here not to paint themselves into a corner while its bigger competitors begin to deploy such services.